Medical Education

Assessment & Evaluation

The Nine Abilities constitute a competency-based curriculum that defines the knowledge, skills and personal and professional values we expect of all of our graduates.

How are students evaluated?

Students are evaluated in the Nine Abilities* by multiple methods of assessment: Written exams and participation in problem-based learning small-group sessions are the principal assessment methods in preclinical basic science courses. National standardized subject-based exams are also used in a number of core clerkships to assess student’s clinical knowledge base.  

In Doctoring and all of the core clerkships performance-based methods of assessment are employed such as Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCEs). Students are also directly observed by attendings, residents, and nurses, interviewing patients or completing a physical examination in the clinical setting. Students’ oral skills are assessed in presenting the patient to a physician and on their write ups of patient encounters in the clinic setting in both Doctoring and the core clerkships.

The Nine Abilities

The competent graduate demonstrates effective verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills in a wide range of activities including patient care, consultation, and teaching. The graduate has the communication skills to establish rapport with and the capacity or skill set to counsel patients and their families.

1.1 Uses written language effectively.

1.2 Documents a clinical encounter in the patient record.

1.3 Uses verbal and nonverbal skills effectively.

1.4 Employs effective listening skills.

1.5 Demonstrates awareness of the potential influence of diversity on patient care.

The competent graduate obtains a comprehensive history, conducts a thorough physical examination, performs basic clinical procedures and interprets data in a spectrum of patient care settings.

2.1 Obtains a comprehensive or focused history.

2.2 Performs a comprehensive or focused physical examination in children (including newborns and young children), adolescents, and pregnant, adult, and geriatric patients.

2.3 Presents a clear and well-organized oral presentation.

2.4 Recommends and interprets basic diagnostic tests.

2.5 Performs basic clinical procedures.

The competent graduate logically and accurately applies basic scientific principles and concepts in evaluating, identifying, treating, and preventing illness.

3.1 Describes the normal structure, function, and development of the human body.  

3.2 Recognizes a health problem exists by differentiating normal physiology from pathophysiologic processes.

3.3 Describes the risk factors, pathophysiologic mechanisms, structural and functional changes, and consequences of the underlying health problem.

3.4 Develops a therapeutic plan, incorporating risks and benefits, based on the mechanistic understanding of disease pathogenesis.

3.5 Measures and analyzes effectiveness of an applied intervention.

3.6 Articulates the pathophysiologic and pharmacologic rationales for the chosen therapy and expected outcomes at an appropriate level.

The competent graduate diagnoses, manages, and prevents a spectrum of health problems, both acute and chronic.

4.1 Uses information from the history, physical examination, and laboratory data to create an appropriate differential diagnosis for acute and chronic common health conditions.

4.2 Discusses and enters safe orders and prescriptions in a variety of settings.

4.3 Uses diagnostic tests in a cost-effective manner.

4.4 Recognizes (explicit and implicit) biases that can lead to diagnostic error.

4.5 Integrates preventive interventions into the comprehensive health care of individuals.

4.6 Uses evidence-based medicine and incorporates patient preferences to develop an appropriate treatment plan for individuals with acute and chronic disease.

4.7 Monitors patient's progress and modifies management accordingly.

The competent graduate becomes a master adaptive learner who continually expands and enhances one's knowledge and abilities to best serve patients and populations. The graduate is intellectually inquisitive and competent. The graduate seeks out and evaluates information from the full spectrum of resources continually updating one's knowledge of evidence-based guidelines.

5.1 Demonstrates an active interest in learning and independently seeks to close knowledge gaps.

5.2 Develops a well-formed, focused, pertinent clinical question.

5.3 Identifies and demonstrates the use of information technology to access accurate and reliable medical information.

5.4 Demonstrates skills in appraisal of the sources, content, and generalizability of medical information.

5.5 Applies the relevant findings of an information search to the diagnosis and treatment plan.

5.6 Use resources to explore career options and professional development opportunities.

The competent graduate displays a deep and ongoing commitment to the care of patients while ably attending to professional and personal responsibilities.

6.1 Demonstrates respect for others at all times.

6.2 Demonstrates the ability to work collaboratively.

6.3 Attends to responsibilities in a professional manner.

6.4 Defines and implements principles of wellness and self-care.

6.5 Demonstrates honesty and personal integrity, altruism, accountability, and duty.

The competent graduate practices medicine in a broader context by understanding the many factors that influence health, disease, and disability. The graduate advocates for the patient's well-being and works with community partners to identify and address environmental, social, and behavioral factors and health systems policies which impact health and disease.

7.1 Identifies the many factors that influence health, disease, and disability in the population.

7.2 Identifies appropriate resources in the community to address structural disparities.

7.3 Advocates for better health for individual patients and populations.

7.4 Uses principles of health systems science to address health and disease on a population level.

7.5 Uses the scientific method, including basic biostatistical and epidemiologic principles, to answer a research or clinical question.

The competent graduate recognizes and reflects upon the ethical dimensions of medicine and health policy. The graduate formulates, defends, and effectively carries out a course of action that takes into account the ethical complexity of the health care setting. The graduate respects patients' values and beliefs, and is able to reconcile them with alternative options while maintaining ethical integrity.

8.1 Defines and implements salient principles of medical ethics.

8.2 Identifies and reflects upon personal beliefs and conscious or unconscious biases.

8.3 Effectively articulates and integrates ethical considerations that are integral to understanding, analyzing, and responding to ethical challenges in patient care.

8.4 Communicates clearly and compassionately with patients and families regarding ethical issues.

The competent graduate demonstrates an understanding of and reflects on the complex processes involved in the evaluation and treatment of a patient. The graduate can incorporate the previous eight competencies into a holistic approach to medical care.

9.1 Practices an evidence-based approach to clinical reasoning and decision making in collaboration with other healthcare professionals.

9.2 Uses medical informatics in the medical decision making process for the care of patients.

9.3 Works collaboratively with other healthcare professionals in providing continuity in patient care.

9.4 Identifies and applies patient safety and quality improvement principles.

9.5 Practices reflection and awareness of one's thinking and cognitive processes (meta-cognition).

*Not all abilities are addressed in each clinical elective or scholarly concentration.